ZeptoLab starts building a corporate university

    New Year's greetings to all habragiteli reading us!

    2014 was a busy and difficult year for us, but at the same time it was also the most innovative and instructive.

    Training budgets in our difficult times, unfortunately, suffer more often than others in the corporate environment, but we are pleased to be an exception to this rule: each employee of Zeptolab has always had and has a training budget of about 90,000 rubles. in year.
    From this budget, zeptolabs can attend conferences, go to trainings and courses both inside and outside the company, and also study online. At conferences, our guys often act as speakers:

    To move up the professional and career ladders, sometimes the baggage of knowledge with which you come to the company is not enough - you cannot go far without a permanent desire to reach new heights. And when employees have such a desire, it is possible and necessary to work with it. I want to share how we do it.

    This year we were faced with the task of systematically approaching the development of the most necessary skills among company employees. To begin with, they were worth highlighting - we did this as a standard, using the personnel assessment method and individual conversations with department heads.
    After the “gaps” in knowledge that not just one or two employees have, but entire departments have become clear, we got down to business. Individual nuances were mainly worked out at external courses and trainings, and on those that turned out to be more global, they worked within the company all together.

    Naturally, the above concerns both the development of professional skills and the so-called soft skills: for example, all those who were interested in learning to intelligibly convey their thoughts to colleagues and subordinates passed a course of oratory.

    You can get to any individual external course or training from Zeptolab in two ways: on the recommendation of the head or HR department, as well as on your own initiative. If an employee finds some super-course in the same British or even in another company of Yandex level, and this course, in his own opinion, can help him work more efficiently - for welk.

    We’ll tell you a little more about the group courses that we launched inside the company this year. When it became clear what courses and for whom are needed, the task arose to find who will teach them. Everything is simple here: if the necessary expertise was inside Zepto, then one of the employees was asked to conduct the course, if not, they were looking for a strong teacher outside the Zeptolab on the recommendations.

    If the necessary expertise was not found within the company, it was much more efficient and cheaper to invite a standing teacher on the necessary topics directly to the company. In this case, you can agree on a date convenient for everyone, and the time and effort that is usually spent on transport can be spent on training. The courses were open, and in addition to the target audience, any interested employee could attend them + we will record and store all the lectures in our knowledge library, where they can be found at any time.

    Here's what we spent inside Zeptolab this year:

    For the entire company:
    • Practical Course in Time Management and Motivation

    For the art department:
    • Color Theory Course,
    • Workshop on Motion Design,
    • Workshop on UI.

    Teachers were invited from BHSAD, Real Time School, as well as free artists in every sense of the word.

    For developers:

    • Algorithms course by Mikhail Mirzayanov (creator of Codeforces)

    Given the target audience of Habrahabr - about the last course a little more in detail:

    At the moment, more than half of all Zeptolab developers (client and server) are studying on the course.


    The course implies not the easiest homework: you need to think about them, but after the solution "reaches", the code is written in 10-15 minutes.

    On codeforces.ru, the Zeptolabovites have a closed group, everything happens there. Homework done in the form of special competitions with slight differences from the classic. For those interested - details here .

    Periodically, company contests are held among programmers, at the end of which ratings are built and gifts are given.

    The entire course is divided into 4 blocks:

    • The first block - heap, Fenwick tree, stacks, queues, sparse table, root Heuristic, hashes, sorts
    • The second block is sortings (continued), two pointers, binary and ternary searches, segment tree, treap, treap by implicit key
    • The third block is dynamic programming: classical methods, DP along a broken edge, DP along a bitmask
    • Graph Theory and Probability Theory

    From the results of the course: one of our client developers, after his first contest on Codeforces.ru, received a rating of 1700, before that he was not involved in sports programming.
    Some more statistics: the last homework (I must say, one of the most difficult) is able to complete in 2 hours about 1,500 people around the world. Three of them work for us.

    Victor responds to the results of the Head of Client Development ZeptoLab course as follows: “The company’s code has made a meaningful use of standard data structures, and performance issues are increasingly being raised. Who wants to apply the acquired knowledge in work - does it. The opportunity to consolidate and apply them in the work is always there. Of course, the level of developers has become much higher, but there is always room to grow. ”

    The plans for the next year are to finish learning algorithms and move on to learning patterns, as well as to an in-depth study of modern C ++ (since this language is written in our internal framework and the lion part of the code is written).

    In addition to the academic courses, the company also has the so-called “Developers' exp share” - regular meetings to exchange purely practical experience for developers. Speakers prepare presentations for these meetings with their options for solving typical working situations and problems, and also share their suggestions for further development of the framework and the entire development process.

    Well, a little about that happiness when there are people inside the company who have the necessary knowledge and presentation.

    Courses from your employees are useful for two reasons. Firstly, this is an exchange of expertise, and at the same time as applicable to your company as much as possible. Secondly, this is a chance for your employee to re-structure his own knowledge in his head and find out something somewhere while he is preparing for the lecture. Plus, many find this way of self-realization.

    This year, the following courses were launched in the pilot version:

    • For the QA department - a course from the leading iOS developer (native of QA, by the way), aimed at the ability to independently build the build, profile and debug the build using Xcode tools, and also knowledge of the architecture framework for the analytical search for problems
    • For game designers - periodic meetings with analysts, where the analytics department shared the game market trends with their eyes, as well as tricky tools of the same MS Excel
    • For all comers - a purely practical course from Head of PMO to simplify life for every day: here it is about prioritization, and about not the most famous, but useful functions of mail and calendar, etc.

    It is worth noting that such courses should be run carefully inside the company (as well as choosing the moderator of this course itself, because the moderator and students already have an existing working relationship), and the “do no harm” principle will be most useful here, because people still work together :)

    There is another nice moment in group learning within the company - the brothers-in-arms from different departments or different projects rarely intersect at work, and when well-organized course in a strong coach, they have the opportunity to fine p interact with each other - it's you and team building, and mutual learning. The Zeptolabivs chorus note that this is one of the most significant “advantages” of such courses, and that they learned from each other some things no less than on the course itself.

    Plus, it charges and adds variety to the workflow :)

    Speaking of numbers, this year we invested about 3 million rubles in the education of Zeptolabovites. We are not going to stop here, we will only gain momentum. There are plans to exchange experiences with our Western colleagues on GameDev (for example, in the first half of the year we are preparing a course for game designers and product managers from Ernest Adams , a well-known consultant in the gaming industry).

    And I really want to share our experience further + we are absolutely open to advice, therefore, dear colleagues in the gaming and IT industries, if you have something to share, non-standard approaches to training or simply useful sources of knowledge (including courses, online webinars, etc.) - leave in the comments, we will be grateful (and, we hope, not only us).

    On this, the wave of ZeptoLab FM stops broadcasting on the Habrahabr blog in 2014, and already in 2015 we hope to please the world with the fruits of our efforts in the form, of course, of new games from ZeptoLab. Apparently, you are waiting for them)

    Happy New Year, and a cool New Year to you!

    Your ZeptoTeam.

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